EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A 23-year-old man was charged with murder in connection with the deaths of an Edwardsville couple found dead Monday morning.
The Major Case Squad Commander Jeff Connor said 23-year-old Zachary Capers was charged with multiple counts of murder in connection with the deaths of Michael Ladd, 78, and Lois Lass, 68. Connors said Capers stabbed both victims in what he said was an apparent random act of violence.
Capers was taken into custody in an unrelated incident Sunday morning. They said he was acting suspiciously and had an outstanding warrant.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said his office would seek a life sentence. He would have pursued the death penalty if it was available to him.
Gibbons said Capers was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for each victim. He said the reason for the additional counts is to create flexibility in the prosecution of the case. For each victim there is a charge saying Capers stabbed the victims knowing it would result in their deaths and a charge saying he knew the stabbings would likely result in their deaths.
The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis launched their investigation Monday morning. They were requested after police discovered 79-year-old Michael Ladd and his 68-year-old wife Lois Ladd dead in their home on the 800 block of North Kansas while performing a welfare check.
Police have not said when they believe the stabbing occurred since Capers was in custody a day before they launched their investigation.
Connor said they have not been able to find any connection between Capers and the victims, but they are still looking for information from the public.
Friends of the couple are still in shock.
"I couldn't believe that anybody could possibly want to do that to either one of them,” Calvin Jarrell said.
Jarrell knew Lois Ladd for decades and was once a patient of her chiropractic business.
"She was a healer in so many different ways. Not just in the medical, being a chiropractor and acupuncture, but she had a healing soul I think,” he said.
He said the couple is deeply missed.
"You're gonna feel that absence of them, and I think it's gonna take a long time to get used to the absence of their being here,” he said.